Up and Down the Worry Hill (Third Edition)

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"The best book available for children with OCD." 

~ Charles Mansueto, Ph.D., Scientific Advisory Board,
Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation

This book received the 2011 Self-Help Book Recommendation from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.

A timeless classic, this book received the 2011 Self-Help Book Recommendation from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. This book was also the winner of the 2003 Reader's Preference Editor's Choice Award for Children's Books.

This is the children's companion book to What to Do When Your Child has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (sold separately). 

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Key Benefits:

  • Offers hope for children with OCD.
  • Children will understand that they are not "crazy" and not alone.
  • Helps parents and professionals discuss OCD and its treatment with children
  • Helps children dispel fears and uncertainty about OCD
  • Prepares children for OCD treatment
  • Appropriate for Ages 4-12

OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD) affects as many as one in 200 children, and can cause severe difficulties for the child in school, with friends and family. About half the adults who have OCD develop it during childhood.

Fortunately, recent scientific advances have established that OCD can often be treated successfully, offering great hope for children and their families. Sadly, many children and teenagers are ashamed to disclose their symptoms, and therefore suffer in silence.

UP AND DOWN THE WORRY HILL describes OCD clearly and simply from a child’s perspective. It attempts to give children with OCD a sense of control and hope in their lives. Hope and optimism are major factors in building the motivation and persistence that it takes to gain mastery over OCD.  Children with OCD will identify with Casey’s initial struggle with OCD, his sense of hope when he learns about treatment, his relief that neither he nor his parents are to blame, and eventually, his victory over OCD. 

This book is designed for parents or professionals and children to read together. It offers parents, educators and clinicians the chance to engage in an open discussion of a difficult topic, and to provide accurate information about OCD. It is intended to help children dispel fears and uncertainties and prepare to engage in treatment. In particular, Up and Down the Worry Hill focuses on describing Behavior Therapy for OCD in a manner than children can comprehend.

This book uses real-life metaphors to describe OCD and its treatment. Metaphors simplify difficult and abstract concepts by comparing them to situations that children can easily understand. The metaphors used in this book evolved over the years in Dr. Wagners' work with children with OCD. 

Up and Down the Worry Hill is part of the only integrated set of resources for children with OCD, their parents and their therapists.  The companion book for parents is What to do when your Child has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Strategies and Solutions.  The companion book for professionals is Treatment of OCD in Children and Adolescents: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Manual.

Expert Reviewers' Comments

"... It's a masterpiece!  Many of us write for adults.  You have written for children with OCD who will become adults, for adults with and without OCD and for the child within all of us.  Stories beat statistics and you've captured and conveyed the essence of effective behavior therapy for OCD for children and adults.  Your metaphors are perfect, permitting each reader to  find his path to understanding and successful treatment of OCD.  Parents, teachers, clinicians and, most importantly children will all benefit enormously from reading and rereading your book.  Thanks so much for writing it."

~ John H. Greist, M.D. 
CEO, Healthcare Technology Systems, LLC
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin Medical School
Author of "Anxiety and its Treatment, Help is Available" and many other books on OCD
Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation


"Dr. Wagner has written a most helpful and entertaining book for young children who develop OCD symptoms.  It is written from a child's perspective and is designed for parents and caregivers to read with the child.  These symptoms can be exceedingly confusing and hard to explain to a child, but this book will make things much easier.  The book leads naturally from clinical findings to useful questions to treatment approaches; probably a key element in the book is the careful motivating of the child for treatment.  The bottom line is that OCD is treatable and that children (and their parents) should be optimistic about their futures."

~ Michael A. Jenike, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Chair, Scientific Advisory Board of the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation 


"I found it to be excellent.  It successfully achieves several important goals: letting children/parents know what sort of symptoms might be considered part of OCD (this alone will provide much relief, comfort in having the knowledge that this is a well known medical condition and that the child's symptoms are shared by others), providing a good medical/biologic explanation for the symptoms, clarifying that there is hope - these problems can improve through therapy and meds.  We would recommend the book for all our child patients with Tourette's syndrome and OCD symptoms."    

~ Roger Kurlan, M.D. 
Professor of Neurology, University of Rochester School of Medicine
Member of the Medical Advisory Board, Tourette Syndrome Association


"... a sizable contribution to the literature on childhood Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  Paul Jutton's illustrations and [ Dr.] Wagner's message provide parents and therapists with an engaging way to teach young children about OCD.  More importantly, Up and Down the Worry Hill offers hope and affirmation to kids who suffer from this potentially disabling but treatable disorder."

~ C. Alec Pollard, Ph.D.
Professor of Community and Family Medicine
Director, Anxiety Disorders Center, Saint Louis University School of Medicine


"The book offers a message of hope and makes it clear that although treatment may be hard work it can make OCD manageable...In summary I think that the book is one to add to the bookshelves of professionals treating children with OCD and worth recommending to parents."

~ James M. Claiborn, Ph.D., ABPP
Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation
Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy


"Clear, straightforward and jargon-free...the vital message that you are not alone, you are not crazy, and that there is hope through in a warm and easygoing manner.  I would be happy to recommend it to my patients."

~ Fred Penzel, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Western Suffolk Psychological Services
Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation


"I met several talented writers at the conference. One of those is Aureen Pinto Wagner, a clinical child psychologist who specializes in behavior therapy of OCD and other anxiety disorders in children. She wrote Up and Down the Worry Hill, A Children's Book about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and it's Treatment. This beautifully written and illustrated story is about Casey, a boy with OCD. He has problems with counting, washing and checking.

Casey has a new bicycle and his dad is helping him learn to ride his bike up Big Hill. Riding up Big Hill is hard work, but coasting down the hill is great fun. It is the reward for the hard work of pushing himself to ride up the hill, "little by little."

Casey's doctor tells him that using behavior therapy to fight OCD is like riding up a big "Worry Hill." It gets harder and harder, but once you get to the top of the Worry Hill it gets easier coming down.

Up and Down the Worry Hill is a book children will want to read again and again, not as a ritual, but because they will relate to Casey and his OCD. Illustrated by Paul A. Jutton, the beautiful black and white pictures would be fun to color. This is a book every child with OCD should have. It would also be a fantastic book to include in school libraries and classrooms."

~ Cherry Pedrick, R.N.
Excerpted from SUITE101, Copyright 2000
Co-Author of The OCD Workbook: Your Guide to Breaking Free from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

About the Author

Aureen Pinto Wagner, Ph.D. is a clinical child psychologist, expert in the treatment of anxiety, and international speaker. She specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and has developed the child-friendly Worry Hill® approach to making CBT accessible to youngsters. Dr. Wagner is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. She is also a member of the Scientific and Clinical Advisory Board of the International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation and a member of its Pediatric Subcommittee.

Dr. Wagner established The Anxiety Wellness Center in 2002 to provide effective treatment for children, teens and adults with anxiety. Prior to relocation to North Carolina in 2010, Dr. Wagner was Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry since 2003, and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry since 1991. In 2007, she was voted Outstanding Psychologist of the Year by the Genesee Valley Psychological Association, Rochester, NY.

In 2011, Dr. Wagner was awarded the Self-Help Book Recommendation for providing the highest level of evidence-based best practices, from the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, for all her self-help books: Worried No More: Help and Hope for Anxious Children, Up and Down the Worry Hill: A Children's Book about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and What to do when your Child has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Strategies and Solutions. The latter two books, along with her highly-acclaimed resource for professionals, Treatment of OCD in Children and Adolescents: Professional's Kit, comprise the only integrated set of resources for children with OCD, their parents, and their therapists. Dr. Wagner has also developed a suite of resources for professionals who work with anxious youth, including Worried No More: Teaching Tools and Forms on CD, and CD’s of her live workshops for parents and school professionals.

Dr. Wagner is a sought-after international speaker who presents workshops for parents, school professionals and clinicians. She offers videoconferencing consultation and workshops for professionals.  Dr. Wagner received her education at St. Agnes College, the University of Iowa, Yale University Child Study Center and Brown University.